Thursday, 17 February 2022

The Youth Friendly Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong and the Danger of A Single Story Narrative

Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong 

By Asuquo Cletus Felix 

It was the beautiful and delectable Nigerian author, speaker and women right activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who opened my eyes to what she described as "Danger of a Single Story".

According to her, most times we are quick to summarize people's life with just a one sided view we have about them (which she called a single story). What is worst with this is that we are quick to propagate and spread our one sided view without seeking to find out if there's another side to the story. This is most times referred to as balance in Journalism. People with ill intention are most likely to spread a one-sided story just to score cheap points especially when it favors their sentiments. 

Few weeks back, there was a widely circulated article on Calabar blog with the author attempting to smear the image and character of Prof Eyo Etim Nyong. A reputation that has been intentionally and meticulously built over the years. 

The author in an attempt to satisfy his paymasters and justify his earnings, amongst other things described Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong as a man who has lost touch with youths of this generation forgetting that Nyong is a Professor of Petroleum Geology recognised globally, who has given a large chunk of his youthful life to youth development and nation building. Prof. Nyong obtained his Ph.D at a very youthful age and began impacting on other young persons when he got a lecturing job with the University of Calabar, where aside his paid job as a university teacher, he spent a greater part of his time, molding and shaping the students who came across his way. Many of his former students still hold him in very high esteem. Some of the students have used Prof. Nyong's Petroleum Consultancy Laboratory in Port Harcourt for their M.Sc and PhD research works free of charge.

Little did Nyong know he would later venture into politics, a platform where he would leverage to touch more lives. Eyo Etim Nyong's political sojourn has been for the good of young persons in Cross River State as evident in his various Humanitarian efforts with many benefiting youths across the state. 

The author and sponsors of the said story didn't tell their readers that Nyong has vast experience in terms of public relations with young persons while solving their peculiar needs. The author may have made the mistake of a single story. They might have expected to see Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong sit in local joints, bars and clubs dancing and eating dog meats with young persons or moving about the town with rented/paid crowd with cult boys. 

Truth is that we all have our style of life, Nyong may not be sitting out with young persons to wine and dine in joints and bars around town and he does not in anywhere condemn those who do it. His style may be different and indeed his style is different. 

For Prof. Nyong, meeting special needs of young persons is far more beneficial than sitting with young persons in pup to wine and dine regularly. As a Commissioner in the Niger Delta Development Commission, representing Cross River State several years back, Nyong has empowered more young persons than all other commissioners who came in after him put together. The records are there for all to confirm. 

For instance, when the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC was supplying materials for Primary and some science laboratory equipments to selected secondary schools in Cross River State, Nyong made sure the delivery contract and everything concerning that project was given out to youths. He will take delivery of these items, and supply them across the State through the youths. There are hundreds of youths across the three Senatorial Districts of the state that have benefited from such programs. Some of them bought their first cars through such opportunities brought in by Prof. 

If he were a greedy or unfriendly person, he would have just hired trucks, like some people did in other states and he would have gotten his family members to deliver those things while he pockets the money. But he gave it out. There are people who still testify to this till today.

There was also a time NDDC released some transportation buses, and since Cross River State is not a strong member State in NDDC, we were given only 18 buses but through his connections, he fought and made sure the state got up to 50 buses which he personally shared across the state to mostly youths and a few widows organizations, none of his family members were beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries are still in town and can testify to this.

Beyond that, there was a water hycent grant which was always given every December. Nyong would share it out and never kept anything to himself. Since he left office, Cross River youths can attest that nothing of such is happening again, they haven't  benefited in such a way from NDDC to the best of my knowledge.

Prof. Eyo Etim Nyong spent only four years in the NDDC, which cannot be compared to the years spent by others collectively. Most of the prominent employees of NDDC from Cross River were recruited through the efforts of Prof. Nyong. 

Besides service in government institutions, Prof Eyo Etim Nyong, due to his love and passion for youths,  the vulnerable and entire communities at large, explored other opportunities to serve humanities. He served as State Chairman of the Nigerian Red Cross,  Cross River State Chapter, State President of the Boys' Brigade - a Christian youth group that cuts across the entire State and he is currently a National Patron of the organisation. Prof Nyong is an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria where he is serving in various capacities including superintending over the youth organisation of the Parish he belongs to for over ten years.

In the process of all his humanitarian services, Prof has given scholarships, entrepreneurial grants, skills development and acquisition as well as other forms of support to young persons across the State with no room for ethnicism. He is known as the people's Prof. 

Prof. Nyong's developmental efforts toward young persons and Cross Riverians is not publicised in the media, but many young persons can attest that he has been a shoulder for them to lean on. He is known for his open doors and picking all calls from known and unknown callers. 

What more could be described as Youth Consciousness, if it is not a deliberate attempt to smear Prof's hard earned reputation and friendly deposition towards young people?